How many of your colleagues are on Twitter? If you are a scholar it would be around 1 in 40 – that is at least the conclusion made by Jason Priem, an investigator of new measures of scholarly impact on the social Web from University of North Carolina.

Some of the conclusion from his research can be found on the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog. It is definitely worth a quick read.

In an attempt to assess the presence of scholars on Twitter, Jason Priem and colleagues made a list of around 9,000 scholars from five US and UK universities and searched for their names on the Twitter API. After manually confirming all the matches, they downloaded all the tweets each scholar had made and coded the content of these. It is based on this research that they conclude that about 1 ind 40 scholars are actively using Twitter. They also conclude that the adaptation of Twitter is broad-based. Thus, scholars from different fields and career stages are taking to Twitter at about the same rate. And that the scholars are not there just for private reasons, but are actively using Twitter as a scholarly medium, making announcements, linking to articles, even engaging in discussions about methods and literature. That said, they also conclude that most scholars’ tweets are personal, underscoring Twitter as a space of context collapse, where users manage multiple identities (see more on the Twitter poster below).

Even though Jason Priem conclude that scholars from different fields and career stages are taking to Twitter at about the same rate I can’t help but wonder if public health scholars also are represented on Twitter by 1 in 40. And how about when you go outside UK and US? In a Danish context it will surely be less – but I guess that means that there is even more room for improvement. Regardless, it would be interesting to do a similar study in a Scandinavian context.

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